'I feel Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar were born to do what they do', says Angad Bedi with excitement in his voice, when our conversation at one point, steers towards his experience of sharing screen space with the 'Shahenshah' of Bollywood.
It was Angad's portrayal of Rajvir Singh in Shoojit Sircar's 'Pink' which made everyone sit up and notice this lad for the first time. With films like 'Dear Zindagi', 'Tiger Zinda Hai' to his acting credit, he is now all charged up for the release of Dulquer Salmaan-Sonam Kapoor starrer 'The Zoya Factor'.
In an interview with FilmiBeat, the actor gets candid about playing a role which is quite unlike him, his first moment in front of the camera, star kids getting papped, fatherhood and his wife Neha Dhupia.
Excerpts from our chat with him.
'You Can't Say Ayushmann Khurrana's Films Are Working Because He Is Lucky'
Q. You said in one of interviews that your character Robin in 'Zoya Factor' is 'gregarious and magnetic' and has a bad boy charm. He is someone who isn't you in reel life. How easy or difficult was it for you to step into their character?
A. It's never easy to get into anything. When you have to find a 'sur' of a character, you need to go through a process. For that, usually a filmmaker guides you. I was very fortunate enough to have Abhishek sit me down and explain me at least 20 to 50 points of Robin. Then, he told me to find my character within those points. He told me to associate my character with that of a lion because it's the most insecure animal. Since I am not insecure in real life, I need to have that kind of projection.
When you play characters which are slightly magnetic, you tend to get a little physical. We haven't projected him that way. We have kept my character in the real space of performance where his body language and clothes suggest that he is flamboyant. But he doesn't try and gather attention. He is good-looking guy who wins matches single handedly, is a superstar of the team and enjoys an immense fan-following. But then all of a sudden with one bad series, he loses his captaincy and there's a power-shift. Suddenly the attention shifts from Robin to Nikhil Koda (Dulquer Salmaan's character in the film). There's an unsaid, uncomfortable vibe between both of them. Robin can be as cool as ice, at the same time, become distant and cold. From a very charming flamboyant boy, he can turn into a very spoilt child.
Q. Did you read Anuja Chauhan's book on which the film is based?
A. I read it five years ago. That was the time when it was to be made into a film and Red Chillies (Shahrukh Khan's production house) had the rights. There was another filmmaker called Vishal Punjabi who was to direct it. But it didn't happen then.
Q. Do you believe in lucky charms?
A. I think you make your own luck. You work hard and you will get lucky. I believe in that. For me, it's all about hard work. I feel nobody has ever achieved success without working hard. A lot of people can be lucky but just for a brief period. Eventually, they have to come out with their potential in life. Sometimes people say an actor is lucky because his films are working. It doesn't work that way. The success is because of his hard work.
You can't say Ayushmann Khurrana's films are working because he is lucky. No, he has worked hard right from his very first film. For me, I have tried to pick up all those characters where there was enough for me to perform. It is easier to play characters which are closer to your personality and the audience relates to it faster. But the thing with me is that till date, I have not played a character which is closer to my personality. When you can get accepted as an actor who can do very different kind of roles and then you play a role closer to yourself, it's like icing on the cake.
'I Strive To Work With Bigger & Better Filmmakers'
Q. Do you keep a tab on what your contemporaries do in terms of what films they are choosing or the kind of work what they have been doing?
A. No, I don't. Right now, I want each of my projects to impact the audience and get appreciated. So, I strive to work with bigger and better filmmakers. That's my goal. I want to work with people like Shakun Batra. I want Karan Johar to direct me in a film. I think Ali Abbas Zafar is a phenomenal filmmaker. I wish to work with Shashank Khaitan. These are the makers that really appeal to me. I would love to work with my 'Pink' director Shoojit da again. I feel this is where I could see myself. My understanding with them matches and I also have a great connect with the millennial as an audience. I see myself somewhere between in these kind of filmmakers.
Q. What do you enjoy the most about the acting profession?
A. Every actor lives for one thing. It's not the money and fame but it's the appreciation. It's just that one clap. It's like a written exam. You can prepare as much as you want but it all depends on whether you are ready on that day when the moment you have to make things come true. That's most important. I feel sportspeople are in that moment all the time. An actor's job is a bit secured where you can have retakes. Sometimes, roles are tailor-made written for you so that you flow. The moment you can repeat something time and again to make it true is beautiful.
'How Would Kids Know What Camera Angle Or What Clothes Look Good On Them?'
Q. Do you recall the moment when you faced the camera for the first time?
A. I was 18-19 years old. I still remember I was told not to look into the camera while performing. I am following that advice till date (laughs).
Q. You seem to be a mix of an old-school person with a little of new-age personality. We live in times of the paparazzi culture. A celebrity's life is always under the scanner. What are your thoughts on the same?
A. If you choose a field of performance; whether it's sports or cinema or business, where you know there's a scope of getting established and stardom is on the corner, these things will happen. If you want the attention and adulation and want billions of people to come and pay to watch you play on the big screen, then you have to be okay with everything else. Whether your life is under scrutiny or your private life is hitting headlines, I feel it's all fair. You want a 200-300 crore film and you also want to stay away from your audience, that's not possible. I believe with the good comes the bad and vice versa.
As far as kids are concerned, I am not being able to understand the paparazzi culture for children. They get scared. We are trying to protect our daughter Mehr as much as possible because of that reason. When she is old enough to understand then too, it will be out of our control. But, we will still try to keep her as normal as possible. Why people click photos of star kids? Are the kids celebrated? I don't think. Have they done anything? They are just kids. How would they know what camera angle or what clothes look good on them? When they understand nothing, we should let them be kids.
'Fatherhood Has Made Me More Empathetic As A Human Being'
Q. How has fatherhood changed your life?
A. It has definitely changed me for the better. Not just professionally but personally as well. It's made me more empathetic as a human being. It made me realize that there are responsibilities upon you which you have to face and they are the good ones. Now, I have realized that the more time I spend with my daughter and wife and then when I go to work; it transcends into a lot of other things. It makes me more vulnerable and humane and understand life in a different way. It's all for the good.
It's like before you were a little selfish in your life and there's nothing wrong with that. But now, you start to live your life for your baby, wife and your parents who are aged. Before our parents were living their lives for us, now I am living my life for my parents and child. So, it's a great progression and I think everyone goes through that.
Q. We all evolve as human beings. Is there any event or anything which happened in your life, which you now think you could have handled better?
A. I don't live in regrets. Whatever I do, I always have closure for a lot of things. You are put through phases by the power of the universe in a very correct way. A change is inevitable and sometimes the change benefits the human being. If I look back, I have also been dropped out of films which I had signed and had even been replaced after doing workshops. If I have to sit and think about myself as a person, then it would be when I cut my hair despite being a Sikh, hurt my father when I had a baby and a lot of other things.
Whatever I have done, is for a higher purpose and that has made me a better actor, my sporting ability which I valued have transcended here in giving me that fighting spirit to get up and move on. Whatever I thought of as my misgivings are now my learnings in hindsight. Life is a progression. You have to make mistakes to learn the correct thing.
'Neha Is A Great Mother, Wife & A Home-maker'
Q. You spoke about how there was a phase in your career where you were dropped out of films and even replaced. Now during that period, it's easy for anyone to get demotivated or have a moment of self-doubt. What keep you going through that phase?
A. Till date, I never had a moment of self-doubt. I don't dwell in it. Sometimes you may question something but it passes quickly because I just shift my focus. If you dwell in it, it's like a hole which you are digging for yourself and going into it deeper and deeper. I just move on.
You can get attach to a performance but never get attached to your work. Doing well or not is not in your control. Acting well is in your control. I don't get attached to my projects emotionally. If I do that, I won't be able to move ahead. The reason I finish my projects back-to-back is that I don't want to be jittery.
Q. Now that you are a family man, have there ever been any ego clashes between you and your wife, Neha Dhupia?
A. When you have been friends for long, you know each other's personality traits. When that's accepted in friendship, it really helps when that person becomes your life partner. There is no facade as you are not trying to impress.
Neha has her own individuality. She has her own mind and does her own thing. She is very good at what she does at her job. She is a great mother, a wife and a home-maker. I am my own individual with my own mindset. I make my own choice of films. I work in a very different way. So, everybody's path is very different.
Everybody's journey is different though they might want to achieve the same thing. My journey cannot be hers and hers can't be mine. We are very comfortable with each other's co-existences and choices of work and how we lead our lives. I feel we are still like friends. There're high regards as husband and wife. That's one good factor about our relationship.